ON TYRANNY: TWENTY LESSONS FROM THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

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ON TYRANNY: TWENTY LESSONS FROM THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

19th October 2017 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

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T SnyderHistory does not repeat, but it does instruct.

In the twentieth century, European democracies collapsed into fascism, Nazism and communism. These were movements in which a leader or a party claimed to give voice to the people, promised to protect them from global existential threats, and rejected reason in favour of myth. European history shows us that societies can break, democracies can fall, ethics can collapse, and ordinary people can find themselves in unimaginable circumstances. History can familiarise, and it can warn. Today, we are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to totalitarianism in the twentieth century. But when the political order seems imperilled, our advantage is that we can learn from their experience to resist the advance of tyranny.

The Henry Jackson Society is delighted to invite you to an event with Professor Timothy Snyder author of On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century. Professor Snyder will explore the darkest hours of the twentieth century and discuss how we can learn from past experiences in order to provide hope for the future.

Copies of On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century will be available to purchase on the day.

Professor Timothy Snyder is one of the leading American historians and public intellectuals. He is the Richard C. Levin Professor of History at Yale University and a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna.  Snyder received his doctorate from the University of Oxford in 1997, where he was a British Marshall Scholar.  Before joining the faculty at Yale in 2001, he held fellowships in Paris, Vienna, and Warsaw, and an Academy Scholarship at Harvard.  Snyder speaks five and reads ten European languages and among his publications are six single-authored award-winning books. He has received state orders from Estonia, Lithuania, and Poland. Snyder is a member of the Committee on Conscience of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, is the faculty adviser for the Fortunoff Collection of Holocaust Testimonies at Yale, and sits on the advisory councils of the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research and other organisations.

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EVENT SUMMARY

On 19 October 2017, the Henry Jackson Society (HJS) hosted the renowned American historian Timothy Snyder — the Richard C. Levin Professor of History at Yale University, and a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna — who discussed his new book On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century.

Hosted by Timothy Stafford of HJS, Professor Snyder emphasised the West grew complacent after the Cold War because of the choice to propitiate the end of history narrative. According to Snyder, this development was metaphysically lazy, failing to account for the arcs and flows of history (as well as the structural underpinning forces) which periodically deliver surprise shocks to the system. And, the end of history was itself historical, reflecting a choice to be ignorant of past precedent. In consequence, the West disarmed itself to dangers and threats, notably: jihadist Islam; a recrudescent fascism in Europe; Iraqi aggression under the insane dictatorship of Saddam Hussein; the Great Recession; and, democratic backsliding as a tide of ethnic authoritarianism hijacked populist tumult in reaction to these issues.

“History does not repeat, but it does instruct.” Snyder insists that learning from the experiences of those in the twentieth century arms modern society with twenty key lessons with which to resist the advent of tyranny; summarily:

  • Do not obey in advance;
  • Defend institutions;
  • Beware the one-party state;
  • Take responsibility for the face of the world;
  • Remember professional ethics;
  • Be wary of paramilitaries;
  • Be reflective if you must be armed;
  • Stand out;
  • Be kind to our language;
  • Believe in truth;
  • Investigate;
  • Make eye contact and small talk;
  • Practice corporeal politics;
  • Establish a private life;
  • Contribute to good causes;
  • Learn from peers in other countries;
  • Listen for dangerous words;
  • Be calm when the unthinkable arrives;
  • Be a patriot;
  • Be as courageous as you can.

Details

Date:
19th October 2017
Time:
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Event Tags:
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Venue

Millbank Tower
21-24 Millbank
Westminster, SW1P 4RS United Kingdom
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Other

SPEAKER
Prof Timothy Snyder, author, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century

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